N.T. Wright, in Paul in Fresh Perspective, applies the ‘echoes of Caesar’ alongside ‘echoes of scripture’ (see Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul):

  1. Availability: was the material readily available and knowable in the culture at the time?
  2. Volume: is the word, or the syntactical pattern, repeated sufficiently in the immediate context to establish an ‘audible’ volume? How significant is this material in the original source, and in its appropriation elsewhere in Paul’s day?
  3. Recurrence: does the word or theme recur elsewhere in the Pauline corpus, sufficient for us to be able to establish a broader base of meaning!
  4. Thematic coherence: does the theme cohere well with other aspects of what Paul is saying! How well does it sit with the rest of the train of thought of the passage and the letter?
  5. Historical plausibility: could Paul have intended this meaning, or is it anachronistic or out of context when we predicate it of him?
  6. History of interpretation: have other interpreters from other ages read the text in any way like this?
  7. Satisfaction: does this reading enable the text to speak with new coherence and clarity? Does the text, read this way, settle down and make itself at home? Is there, in Hays’s word, an ‘aha’ of fresh understanding when we read it like this?
Advertisements